Project 21 Press Release: Black Conservatives Speak Out on Don Imus Controversy, Criticism

Don Imus has been suspended by CBS Radio and MSNBC for two weeks in the wake of comments made on his April 4, 2007 syndicated radio show.  On that show, Imus called members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “rough girls” and “nappy-headed hos.”  Others in the studio with Imus also called the girls “hardcore hos” and compared their looks to the men’s professional Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies.

Imus has apologized for the remarks and has promised to meet with the team.  The Reverend Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Organization for Women, among others, are demanding Imus be fired.

The follow are comments made by members of the Project 21 black leadership network regarding the Imus controversy and the seemingly selective outrage of the people now speaking out against Imus.  Project 21 members do not endorse or agree with Imus’s comments.

Mychal Massie, Chairman of Project 21 (Zion Hill, Pennsylvania) – “The hysteria that has erupted shows a continued pattern of liberal willingness to be selectively offended.  Where is the outrage over Jesse Jackson calling Jews ‘Hymies’ and New York City ‘Hymietown’?  Why has Al Sharpton’s reputation been enhanced since he slandered prosecutor Steve Pagones in the Tawana Brawley hoax or incited anti-Semitic hatred in Crown Heights or outside Freddie’s Fashion Mark in Harlem?   Where is the liberal outrage over Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, John Murtha, Charles Rangel or any of scores of other intentionally insulting liberal marplots afflicted with incontinence of the mouth similar to Don Imus?

“One must question not only the overall sensibilities, but the true motives of those who feign insult over Rush Limbaugh, who – when speaking in his former role as ESPN sports commentator – gave a reasoned opinion about an NFL quarterback but are not the least bit offended when HBO talk show host Bill Maher said the attempted assassination of Vice President Cheney in Afghanistan could have accomplished a good thing.” 

“Not one of those now crying foul over the Imus comments voiced a scintilla of insult over the vicious, racist and vulgar diatribes regularly directed at Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, General Colin Powell.”

Kevin Martin, Project 21 National Advisory Council member (Washington, D.C.) – “Thomas Oliphant, the liberal political cartoonist who has drawn Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice in an overtly racial manner, appeared on the Imus show pledging ‘solidarity forever.’  Bill Maher, who was already fired for calling the 9/11 terrorists ‘brave’ and most recently expressed regret that they failed to assassinate Vice President Cheney in Afghanistan, is also standing by Imus’s side.  This is a well-crafted response to another liberal episode of ‘foot-in-mouth disease,’ and Imus’s well-placed friends are working damage control and hoping this will all blow over.”

“At the end of all of this, I expect Imus will return to the airwaves after his suspension and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will have heavier pockets.  The American people will return their attention to ‘American Idol’ and Anna Nicole while the true victims in all of this – the Rutgers University women’s basketball team – will be left the butt of on-the-job or locker room jokes for months to come.”

Deneen Borelli, Project 21 Fellow (East Chester, NY) – “The backlash over Imus’s racist comments clearly illustrates a double-standard.  Where is this kind of outrage when Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Maryland’s former lieutenant governor Michael Steele and Justice Clarence Thomas are bombarded with insulting slurs?  Even more outrageous is the lack of criticism over the degrading song lyrics in rap music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – the same words Imus spoke of that some blacks condone.  You can’t have it both ways.”

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.